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Chinese Spicy Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Spencer Huey

Serves 4-5 people


1 lb cucumbers (I’ve been using Asian type cucumbers
2 teaspoons salt (I use diamond kosher, for other brands adjust accordingly)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon chili crisp (I’m addicted to the Lao Gan Ma brand. It means old godmother)
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1lb tomatoes (any type)


Slice the cucumbers on a bias into 1/4 in slices. Place them in a bowl with the salt and sugar. They will taste too salty, this is good. Give them a toss and let them sit covered on the counter for 30-45 min. The salt and sugar will pull out excess water from the cucumbers. Drain and taste the cucumbers. They should be seasoned perfectly as the excess salt/sugar was drained out. If they’re too salty, give them a quick rinse in a mesh strainer.
Season them with the chili crisp, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and sesame oil. Let them sit for 5 min for flavors to develop. Slice the tomatoes. Just before serving, toss the tomatoes in and serve.

With all the cucumbers I’ve been harvesting, I’ve been making this salad non-stop since the season started. Chili crisp is a chinese chili oil cooked with other aromatics. It’s highly addictive and you’ll soon start to put it on everything. As I mentioned, the classic is the Lao Gan Ma brand (it makes old godmother). I made many versions to get the tastes right. I tried adding garlic and rice vinegar and I found that I liked it more without. The spicy, crunchy cucumbers goes really well with the sweet, acidic tomatoes. Make this one, I promise you won’t be sorry.

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